With the new Level 3 lockdown regulations gazetted, you will soon be able to visit friends and family at restaurants, cinemas and casinos, but you are not legally allowed to visit them at home
During President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address on 17 June, he announced that Cabinet had decided to ease restrictions on a few more economic activities.
These economic activities include restaurants for sit-down meals, cinemas, conference facilities, theatres, casinos and personal care services, like hairdressers and beauty parlours.
“In each instance, specific and stringent safety requirements have been agreed on and will need to be put in place before a business can reopen, and protocols will need to be strictly adhered to for businesses to remain open,” Ramaphosa said.
On Thursday evening, the government gazetted the amendments to the new regulations under advanced Level 3 of the lockdown.
The amendments included the reopening of museums and libraries.
However, the different sectors, while unbanned, will only be allowed to open when the safety protocols have been published, following consultations between the responsible Cabinet minister for each sector and the health minister.
While the regulations will see the opening of these sectors, Section 33 of the regulations, which deals with the movement of persons under the Level 3 lockdown, makes no provision for people being able to visit friends or family at their homes.
Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) spokesperson Lungi Mtshali confirmed that home visits are still prohibited under the latest amendments.
He did, however, say that there will be a stock-take done of the regulations to see where the gaps are, in order for those to be amended.
As it stands, as of 26 June, legally, you may only visit friends and family to exercise with them.
The new regulations allow for exercise between the hours of 06:00 to 18:00, provided that the workout is not done in organised groups of more than four people and adheres to the health and social distancing protocols.
Once the safety protocols are issued, you will also be allowed to be visit friends and family at cinemas, restaurants or casinos, but they will not legally be allowed to come to your house, or you to theirs.
With these regulations not allowing people to visit their loved ones at their homes, it will force those, who want to abide by the regulations, to visit casinos, restaurants or cinemas to see friends and family.
This, in turn, will increase the number of people visiting these outlets, which may be good for business, but surely not for the stated objective of curbing the spread of the virus?
The regulations also do not consider the poor in the country, who are without the financial means to visit the different sectors, meaning they will be unable to visit their loved ones legally.
The regulations need to have some sort of fluidity and alignment.
It can only be considered irrational that you will soon be able to gamble or go watch a movie at a cinema, but you are still not allowed to have a friend over for lunch.
It’s understandable that allowing house visits may lead to larger gatherings at private residences, but the continued form will become more ineffective as each day passes.
More people will be willing to break the lockdown regulations as they grow increasingly disillusioned by not being able to reclaim a semblance of normality in being able to spend time with people they love the most.